My 60th birthday celebration

Although my 60th birthday was earlier in the week (see posting on Wednesday), it was yesterday that we had a gathering of family and friends to celebrate the event – and it was truly wonderful day.
The venue – organised by my wife Vee – was the Grim’s Dyke Hotel, a country house that used to be occupied by Sir William Gilbert (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame). The actual location was the Music Room which has a floor to ceiling carved Alabaster fireplace and a minstrels gallery. The weather was wonderful and the food and service excellent.
No less than 63 of us (including seven children) gathered for the celebration. Vee offered some welcoming words and our son Richard gave a short toast. I then took the opportunity of a captive audience to give a speech which paid tribute to some of the people who had influenced each of the first six decades of my life and were present at the party. Finally Georgeanne and Andy led a sing-song in my honour.
I received an embarrassing number of gifts. There were no less than 16 books, so I’ll have a busy summer. There were three bottles of champagne, so Vee and I can be very merry. There were two presents picking up on the year of my birth (1948): a full set of British coins for that year and an original edition of “The Aeroplane” magazine for the actual day of my birth. A really fun gift was a floating globe using clever magnets and technology. Then I was given a token for a flight in a glider. There were another 19 cards, making a total of 46, plus 20 electronic messages. I had no idea I had so many friends!
Truly I am blessed with a wonderful family and a fantastic set of friends and I thank them all for making this day so very special.

Roger gives his sister Silvia a big cuddle
while James Peixoto looks on

Roger behind David & Sharon, Vee’s nephew and his wife

Roger hugs the mother of his Chinese ‘son’ Zhihao

Little and large: Vee with Roger’s half-brother Chris


  • Chris Graham

    Congratulations on your birthday!
    Keep up the postings, I enjoy checking in, especially the travel sections. Where are you planning on visiting next?

  • Sandor Nagy

    Dear Roger,
    Many happy return of the day!
    With love:
    Marika and Sandor
    from Hungary

  • Chris Sutcliffe

    Amazing! 6 months either side of Christmas Day! I know this because it was my birthday too.
    Many Happy Returns Roger.
    One call I had on my birthday was from the heart surgeon to invite me to a valve/aorta replacement party on the 28th July. A good omen, the 28th July would have been Mum and Dad’s wedding anniversary. Best Wishes to you.

  • Roger Darlington

    Hi, Chris.
    My next holiday is to the Baltic States in August.

  • Jerry Baker

    Hi Roger,
    Re Sandor Nagy’s comment the significance of a day that’s at the opposite side of the year from Christmas is discussed in Robert Graves’ novel “King Jesus.”
    Charles Herberger, in his books, “The Thread of Ariadne” and “The Riddle of the Sphinx,” discusses the same idea, that of two “sacred kings,” each of which ruled for half a year, before being replaced by the other. The deposed kings became human sacrifices, to make the heavenly calendar go on working.
    I think Graves regarded the June 24 feast day of John The Baptist as his birthday, although that might have been the day he was beheaded. Some other Saints, such as, I think, Alban and Nechtan, have feast days around the summer solstice, and were also beheaded.
    It’s now June 30 in Britain, although it’s still the 29th in Iowa, where I live. This June 30 is the 100th Anniversary of the “Tunguska event,” in which something from the sky crashed to earth at a place in the Lower Tunguska River, in eastern Siberia.
    The event was so powerful that trees were knocked over, as far away as 50 miles from the impact site.

  • Jan Marchant

    Hi Roger many happy returns for Wednesday – obviously a good day because it was my daughter Sophie’s 16th on the same day – her celebrations carried on into the weekend also! I am busy organising a surprise for my husband’s 60th in October – miracles take some planning!! Jan

  • Roger Darlington

    Hi, Jerry.
    I did blog about the Tunguska explosion here.

  • Roger Darlington

    Hi, Jan.
    Not sure how much of a surprise your husband’s birthday party will be now you mentioned it on the web!

  • Jerry Baker

    Perhaps because the Wall Street “Panic of 1907” caused a severe recession, there was this rhyme, published somewhere, that my mother remembered from her childhood:
    In Nineteen Hundred and Eight,
    The world, to its sad end, shall come,
    Oh, let us eat, while we have meat,
    For then, we shall have none!
    That seems to be an imitation of this “Mother Shipton” prophecy:
    “The world to its sad end shall come,
    In Eighteen Hundred and Eighty-One.”
    Someone almost predicted the Krakatoa eruption.
    Jerry Baker

  • Josee

    Dear Roger
    60 years already! You don’t look like you are already 60!!! (compliment 😉 ) Hope you have had a nice birthday it looks like you did.
    Sorry for not congratulating you on your birthday!
    Love Josee

  • Jan Marchant

    He doesn’t know about your site – your site is my special little find – I sometimes recount your words of wisdom, and appear quite intelligent!!
    So I think my secret is safe.

  • Elaie Disch

    Hi Roger,
    What a wonderful and so well-deserved special time. Your weekly “thoughts” touch all of us, in all parts of the world. I remember with such fondness sharing a lovely day with you and Vee at the People’s Palace and wish you both the joys of good health and friends in a world someday at peace! With love and best wishes to you both. Go Barack! Elaine